Deciding to buy a dog is probably one of the most exciting and important decisions you will make in your life.
You must first choose the perfect breed for your lifestyle (if you have kids you will want a family-friendly dog breed).
You will then have the exciting part of picking a unique name that you are going to feel happy with calling about ten times a day (whether that be a name for your boy dog or a cute name for girl dog).
And then you will research everything you can about your choice of dog.
I remember when we decided to buy our first family puppy.
We had wanted a dog for many years but the stars had never aligned. When we finally made the leap to get a dog the kids were at the right age, we had space and, because I was a stay at home mum, we had lots of time.
Buying a dog was something we had thought about for a long time. I knew that we would have to take the time to train our new puppy along with adapting our families entire lifestyle.
These following ten factors should influence your decision when thinking about purchasing a dog.
First things first.
Where Do You Buy A Dog From?
Once you have decided that a dog is perfect for you then you will want to decide where to buy your dog from.
A Rescue Center.
Some people prefer to have their puppy from birth. Whilst this is certainly possible when you adopt from a shelter, the majority of dogs are older dogs that have been abandoned or mistreated.
If you would prefer to skip the puppy training and socialising stage and feel as though you could give the time, love and care to rehoming and possibly retraining an older dog, then a rescue centre is where you should think about finding your new dog.
A Dog Breeder
If you are looking to purchase a pedigree purebred dog then your first step would be to decide what breed of dog you are looking for.
There are many factors to take into consideration here. You may have your heart set on a Greyhound but don’t have the time to ensure she is given the exercise that this breed needs. A long coat Bernese Mountain dog may be a very cute puppy, but are you obsessed about having a hair-free carpet? If so, this breed will not be the one for you.
Use this breed selector to help you choose which breed is the right one for you.
Once you have decided on the breed of dog that would suit your family, contact your local Kennel Club. They will have everything you need to know about buying a dog from a breeder in whatever part of the world you are in.
Private Sale/ Trade Me.
Buying from Trade Me (or your equivalent in the world) can be perfectly safe. Many reputable dog breeders use Trade Me as a way to sell their puppies.
However, like any online market place, there are also rouges. If you are thinking of buying a dog from Trade Me then there are a few things I would recommend.
Always contact the seller before buying your dog.
Visit their house. Look at their surroundings. Meet your new dogs’ parents. Look at the health and behaviour of the pup’s parents and other dogs in the house.
If the seller is claiming to be selling registered pups then ask for the papers.
Ask to visit the house at different times to engage with the dog so that you can get a feel for your new dog. See how the owner responds to this. Remember, if the seller is reputable, then they will be just a choosy as you. They will only want to sell their dog to the right person.
Know that a reputable and knowledgable owner will not sell a pup who is younger than 8 weeks old.
10 Things To Consider Before You Buy A Dog
- You know the first thing I am going to say, don’t you? The one about Christmas. You guessed it. There is a reason why the saying ‘a dog is for life and not just for Christmas is so well known. In New Zealand alone thousands of dogs are sent to the SPCA to be rehomed every year. Please don’t buy a dog because you think it will make a sweet Christmas present.
- Once you have a dog your entire life changes. For the better, I might add, but still, you need to be aware that you will have to adapt your entire routine. Think kids, only without the backchat. Going on a holiday will mean that you have to either pay for kennels, find dog-friendly places to stay or join an organisation such as dog sitters. Either way, something to think about.
- No one likes to think of their new dog becoming sick, but this is the reality of owning a pet; at some time in their life, they will get ill. There are many ways that you can help your dog to stay healthy, a balanced diet and a comfortable place to sleep will help to ward off such diseases like arthritis for example. Using a cost-effective tracking device on your dog such as the FitBark 2 will let you see up to date information on his exercise requirements and his sleep needs.
- Dogs, like kids, need time. A lot of time. Some breeds require three walks a day. If you are currently working fifty hours a week and don’t have the time to meet a friend for coffee then now might not be a good time to buy a dog. Have you considered a fish?
- Puppies like to chew. Electricity cables and wires are the first things they will go for. And maybe your very valuable antique chairs. Before buying a dog take into account that you will have to dog-proof your house. At least until your new member of the family is trained. Investing in a high-quality dog crate will not only settle your new puppy and give her a place to call her own but it will protect your precious things!
- Dog’s are not cheap. Once you add up the cost of food, and vet bills your budget can run into the thousands over years, especially if your dog is unfortunate enough to be diagnosed with an expensive disease such as diabetes.
- Whilst it is true that there are ways of caring for your dog on a budget, be realistic about your funds and what you can afford. If you are a struggling student who is looking for a little company while you study then a dog is not what you need in your life. According to the NZ Companion Animal Council, the annual cost of care for a large dog can be as much as $1,686 a year.
- Training a puppy takes time and patience but it is important if you wish to have a well-behaved dog that can be taken to public places. If you have neither the time nor the patience, then I suggest you adopt an older dog who has nice manners.
- Unless you wish to breed from your dog you must get your dog neutered or spayed. You can not risk your dog escaping, having a jolly good time in the back park and adding to the already overwhelmed dog population. Know that you will need to address this.
- Know that there are certain foods that can be fateful to your dog. Avacado, grapes, chocolate, onions and garlic are just a few. Learn more about toxic foods for dogs here.
Fleas and Ticks
- In the warmer months, it is very possible that your dog will attract crawling biting mites. There are many preventatives for fleas but I have found that one of the only ways to combat them is to spend time every day going through your dog’s coat with a brush. if this kind of thing doesn’t sound like you there is always the fish option again?!
- It is recommended that you bathe your dog every two to three months. This is a fun – if not wet experience – but one that needs to be done, especially if your dog has not quite mastered the recall command and has rolled in something unsavoury!
Those are my top 10 tips to be aware of before you rush out to buy a dog. Taking a new canine member into your family is a glorious but life-changing decision. If you have read the above and still want to own a dog then hurray! Welcome to the club! Leave me a comment below if you think I missed something and don’t forget to share this article with your friends.